By Sai Hseng Hlaing / SHAN
Residents of Shan State are struggling amid lockdowns and border closures since late March, which have disrupted trade resulting in substantial revenue losses for farmers and unemployment for others.
“We can’t earn a regular income,” said a taxi driver from Namtu. At the same time, he explained that professional drivers are not receiving government assistance.
Just after the government began easing a partial lockdown preventing travel for months, the country has been hit by its worst outbreak since the pandemic began.
New restrictions have been imposed outlawing movement between the townships in Shan State without a health recommendation letter or other recommendation letter for travel from a ward administration office.
“The travel restrictions between the townships in Shan state are causing many problems for us,” said Nang Leng, from Hsipaw town. “With the election campaign starting, I don’t see the point of imposing these restrictions.” She understands the concern about preventing transmissions, but says the government still needs to look after the people.
Since late March, when a partial lockdown was enacted, basic food baskets were given twice to families in need. But many living in the countryside did not receive them.
“We don’t have any income, so we have to borrow rice from others,” said Nang Ei of Kyaukme Township. She said her family didn’t receive government assistance.
Most in Shan State are farmers. The border closures and travel restrictions prevented them from selling their produce and now they have no income.
“Food is running out in our area,” said Mai Aik Swel. “We haven’t received any help from the government and at the same time we can’t go to work.”
The government’s Ministry of Health and Sports reported 2,265 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at 8 a.m. on September 11, while 14 died and 625 have recovered.